Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Prediction: Napoli vs Juventus

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 41/20

Bookmaker: ZetBet

Two Serie A powerhouses, Napoli and Juventus, will clash at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday in what promises to be an intense battle for crucial points in the Italian top flight.

Napoli, the reigning Scudetto holders, found some solace in a convincing victory over Sassuolo during the midweek fixtures. Meanwhile, Juventus managed to secure a late win over Frosinone last weekend, putting an end to their concerning streak of games without a victory.

Napoli

After a string of draws, Napoli bounced back with an impressive 6-1 victory over Sassuolo in their recent outing. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen were instrumental in this win, with Osimhen even achieving a milestone by becoming the third Napoli player to score double-digit goals in four consecutive Serie A seasons, a feat last accomplished by Diego Maradona in the 1980s.

Despite their recent triumph, Napoli find themselves in a challenging position in the Serie A standings, currently sitting in ninth place, far behind the league leaders Inter Milan. Securing European football for next season remains a difficult task, as they trail the top six by seven points with only 12 matches remaining.

Having recently replaced Walter Mazzarri with Francesco Calzona in the dugout, Napoli will look to build on their recent success as they aim to secure back-to-back league victories for the first time since September. Their upcoming match against Juventus holds special significance, as Napoli have won their last four meetings against Juventus at the Maradona, but they have never defeated Juventus five consecutive times at home in their history.

Team News

Calzona is expected to have all key players available this upcoming weekend, with the exception of January acquisition Cyril Ngonge, who has been sidelined for three matches due to a muscle strain, and Swedish midfielder Jens Cajuste, who is also ruled out due to injury.

Consequently, reigning Capocannoniere Victor Osimhen, who has netted five goals in three matches since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, will lead the attack.

Supporting Osimhen will be Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Notably, Kvaratskhelia played a crucial role in their last encounter with Juventus in Naples, contributing to three goals with one goal and two assists in January 2023.

Juventus

After securing a narrow 1-0 victory in the December fixture, Juventus are determined to achieve a double triumph over Napoli, a feat not accomplished since the 2018/19 season when they dominated Italian football.

However, the once formidable Juventus now find themselves in a diminished state. Despite a promising start to the season, their hopes for a serious title challenge have dwindled, particularly after Inter ruthlessly capitalized on Juventus’ series of setbacks throughout February.

With a daunting nine-point gap separating them from the relentless league leaders, Juventus endured a dismal run, garnering just two points from four matches leading up to their recent encounter with struggling Frosinone. Despite Dusan Vlahovic’s brace, bringing his tally to nine league goals in 2024 alone, Juventus found themselves held 2-2 by the Serie A strugglers in Turin until Daniele Rugani’s last-minute winner salvaged two crucial points, ending their winless streak.

Traditionally renowned for their ability to grind out narrow 1-0 victories under the pragmatic approach of Allegri, Juventus have now conceded in each of their last five league matches, marking their longest streak without a clean sheet in almost two years.

As they face several absences ahead of Sunday’s match and with Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia showing signs of resurgence, concerns loom among the fans of the Old Lady.

Team News

Juve’s top scorer, Dusan Vlahovic, has been extremely prolific lately, leading the goal charts across Europe’s top five leagues since the beginning of 2024. At the Stadio Maradona, he will be supported upfront by either Federico Chiesa or Kenan Yildiz.

Max Allegri finds himself dealing with a midfield dilemma, with both Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie sidelined due to injury, while Nicolo Fagioli and Paul Pogba are suspended. As a result, there’s a possibility of seeing Southampton loanee Carlos Alcaraz making his debut start, with Fabio Miretti also in contention for selection.

On a brighter note for Allegri, Danilo has recovered from an ankle injury and is expected to feature in defense alongside fellow Brazilian Bremer and Federico Gatti.

Conclusion

In the past 11 league encounters between Napoli and Juventus, the two teams teams clinched five victories each, with one match ending in a draw.

The upcoming Sunday-night Serie A clash is poised to be equally balanced. Despite Napoli still in the process of regaining their form, Juventus will likely face a daunting task in securing all three points in Naples.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 41/20

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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